The late Ivan Zapata served time in prison; Eugenia Zapata, who now lives in Colombia, was sentenced to probation, according to Zapata and his parents attorney, Dan Forman.
Zapata, then a 15-year-old high school senior, said he vividly remembers the night federal agents knocked on the door of the familys West Miami-Dade home. He rose opened the door and was knocked to the floor by armed federal agents.
He choked up while telling the story to a Herald reporter Friday.
The girl I was kind of seeing I was told I couldnt see her anymore. The soccer team I was playing for, I was kicked off of, he said. Of his parents, he added: They made a mistake. They paid for their mistake dearly.
Ten years later, as a 25-year-old college student who also worked part-time, Zapata said he was arrested for buying steroids in Colombia and having them mailed to himself in Miami. He and his friends wanted to bulk up their muscles at the gym, Zapata said, calling the idea stupid sh-- that you think about when youre not thinking.
He served six months of probation and paid a fine, Zapata said, and later had his record sealed. After leaving the Florida House in 2010, he had the arrest expunged from his record. By then, the matter was known in political circles and had been raised by Artiles in the two mens 2002 legislative race.
My experiences maybe a portion of guilt led me to do good things, Zapata said, touting his work in the Legislature and, earlier, as a founder of the Colombian American Service Association, an immigration-services nonprofit agency.
Zapata and CASA later parted ways in a nasty breakup that led one of the agencys board chairmen to file an ethics complaint against the then-legislator. A state ethics panel found Zapata did not abuse his position when he had the agencys funding cut after he was forced off the board. Zapata was cited for omitting creditors addresses from financial disclosure forms, an oversight he corrected.